Short-listed mural artists offer proposals for West Toronto Railpath installation

Railpath_Art_Bloor_West_Villager.JPGResidents view designs, hear about concepts at gathering hosted by StreetARToronto and Metrolinx

A few local residents who braved Monday’s wind storm got a sneak peek of potential artwork for an outdoor mural project along the West Toronto Railpath.

StreetARToronto ((StART) in conjunction with Metrolinx held a community consultation meeting, Monday, Nov. 24, so residents could view preliminary artwork by the short-listed artists. The art installation would be on the south side of the railpath’s Bloor West entrance and on a popular piece of land at the foot of Ritchie Avenue.

Artists presented their initial concepts for comment and feedback and will take the information into consideration as they work towards a final submission.

“These are two areas near and dear to my heart,” said Metrolinx spokesperson Kelly Thornton. “This is the celebratory phase for us. Your thoughtful comments will be taken into account as the artists finalize their designs.”

The mural project will help combat graffiti vandalism, said Carolyn Taylor of StART while helping to “bring out the character of neighbourhoods.”

Each artist was given 10 minutes to present their ideas during the community consultation held at the Crossways Employment and Social Services on Dundas and Bloor Streets West.

“It’s an honour for me to present my work,” said artist Paul Aloisi, who says he takes a site specific approach to his work while taking into account the context and conditions of a place. “Each of my projects are pretty different from one another.”

With 20 years experience painting murals, Aloisi said he uses diverse mediums to create public art. Research is key to each of his projects. He says he has reached out to the Friends of Ritchie Avenue Parkette, a group that is “really involved in engaging the community.”

Aloisi said his mural would be dependent on input from the community. He’d use recycled materials. His talent is finding beauty in the mundane, he said.

Veteran graffiti artist Elicser Elliott has been painting for the past two decades.

“I work with the community every time I paint,” he told his small, but attentive audience.

Since he spends so much time painting within a particular neighbourhood, he says he can’t help, but incorporate real life characters into his paintings.

“I like to delve into the history of what happened there,” he said of each site.

Matt McNaught or KWEST as he is known, got his start painting freight trains.

“This space along the rail corridor was unoccupied. That was our place to express ourselves as kids,” he recalled.

McNaught, who lives and works in the area, said this project is his chance to give back to the community. His approach, he said, was to think ‘What do my kids want to see?’

Colour and animals. He is proposing a mural of colourful abstract.

Oliver Pauk is proposing a mosaic of coloured and mirrored Plexiglas that will provide a different experience in both daylight and after dark. It will rely on LED technology and solar power.

“We’re excited about the opportunity,” said Pauk, who lives in the neighbourhood.

Residents were curious about the longevity of the solar power and asked about the durability of the Plexiglas. Batteries for the solar power would likely have to be changed at some point, Pauk said. The Plexiglas durable, yet if one piece was damaged, it could be removed and replaced, he said.

If you couldn’t attend the meeting, visit www.gotransit.com/gts to view the concepts. Send in your comments to gts@gotransit.com 

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This article originally posted online at insidetoronto.com as part of Bloor West Villager publication

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